Michelle started her studies in her homeland Greece at the University of Crete and went on to complete a Master's degree in Oceanography at the University of Amsterdam. She then joined the Coral Reef Ecosystems group at the University of Queensland, Australia, as a PhD student. During her PhD, she studied coral-excavating sponges on the Great Barrier Reef. Her research focused on excavating sponges that host dinoflagellate symbionts, exploring how the symbiosis affects the ability of the host sponge to erode coral frameworks. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the California Academy of Sciences. Her ongoing project uses genomic tools to explore how the populations of excavating sponges spread on the reefs of Curaçao (Southern Caribbean) in collaboration with the local research foundation CARMABI.